LAROUCHE TO IBERO-AMERICAN TRADE UNION LEADERS
Globalization Equals Fascism:
Organize a New Bretton Woods!
Led by U.S. Democratic Party leader Lyndon LaRouche and Mexican trade union leader Agustín Rodríguez, Secretary General of the Union of National Autonomous University of Mexico Workers (STUNAM), trade union leaders from Chile, Argentina, and Peru participated June 14 in an Internet videoconference, on the subject "Globalization Equals Fascism. We Need a New Bretton Woods, Now."
Some 35 individual Spanish sites were logged on as the dialogue took place, the highest number yet reached for Spanish visitors to a LaRouche webcast. (See audio/video archive of the webcast.)
This was no academic discussion. The STUNAM is in the midst of organizing a labor rebellion against Mexico's Calderón government, demanding that the government revoke the March 30 law privatizing public workers' pensions and health care, as unconstitutional and a step towards plans to eliminate all workers' rights, in the name of "structural reforms" and "globalization." Attempting to pick off weaker-kneed labor leaders by talk of possible concessions, the government delivered a formal "offer" to labor leaders, right before this "Second LaRouche-Rodríguez International Dialogue" was scheduled to begin. And, while 60 people, including various other trade union leaders and more than two dozen youth, were at that dialogue at the STUNAM headquarters, five other meetings mapping out local details of the fight were taking place at the same time in other parts of the building.
LaRouche and Rodríguez opened the dialogue, and fielded questions (see transcript). The other speakers then addressed the essential nature of the battle to re-establish state-run social security systems which can defend the public welfare. Most noted how important it is to participate in a continental discusssion of this type, which gives them hope that misery can be overcome.
From Santiago, Chile, Yasmir Fariña, Vice President of the National Federation of Workers of the University of Chile (FENAFUCH), spoke with passion of the destruction which the so-called "Chile model," imposed under the Pinochet dictatorship but not yet overturned, has wreaked upon her country. From Lima, Peru, Carlos Gallardo, dean of the Association of Professors of Peru, reported that the teachers and professors in his country are on strike now, because, while the government claims it has no money for education, it is paying off the foreign debt even before it comes due.
Hugo Moyano, Secretary General of the Argentine Labor Federation (CGT), spoke by telephone from the city of Mar del Plata, where he was attending a meeting. Moyano's participation is notable, given that he holds the same post in Argentina as does AFL-CIO president John Sweeney in the United States. He delivered a message of optimism, that Argentine workers had fought without success for years against the privatization of social security, but under the Néstor Kirchner government, that privatization is finally being reversed. And, he emphatically agreed with Mr. LaRouche, that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet had been an agent of Margaret Thatcher!
Moyano's message of optimism was supported by Salvador Fernandez, Adjunct Secretary General of the Argentine social security workers union, APOPS.
The motivation to fight that is driving all those participating in the discussion was brought home in the answer to the last question, sent in from Germany. The question was whether it was not too harsh to compare globalization with fascism, which conjures up images of the Third Reich. Erik de León of the LaRouche Youth Movement in Mexico answered that they are asked the same question often on the streets in Mexico, by people who make the mistake of equating fascism with a person, Hitler, rather than facing the fact that it is a system, which has historical roots, and which kills people, by taking away even their means to eat.
Rodríguez added that the system of globalization "exterminates the weakest," and therefore it is, indeed, similar to fascism. In closing the dialogue, he said, we await our Third Dialogue with Mr. LaRouche.
The moderator was Ronald Moncayo of EIR in Mexico. The following is a slightly abridged transcript. The English translation of Spanish-speakers is transcribed directly from the simultaneous translation. The dialogue is archived at www.larouchepub.com, in English and Spanish.
Moncayo: Good afternoon, I would like to welcome our auditoriums of people who are listening to this webcast around the entire planet. We're meeting again today to conduct a second dialogue between the American politician and economist Lyndon LaRouche and one of the most important labor leaders of Mexico, Engineer Agustín Rodríguez, who is the General Secretary of the Trade Union of Workers of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (STUNAM). From Mexico City, from the STUNAM auditorium, which has been called "The House of the People," we would like to welcome everybody from different institutions and audiences who are listening to this program.
Allow me to first announce how the program is going to proceed today. First of all, we will have a presentation by Mr. LaRouche. After that, we are going to have a presentation by Agustín Rodríguez—who is, I have been assured, about to arrive here in the auditorium in just another couple of minutes. And after that we will have a presentation from our special invited guest this afternoon, Yasmir Fariña of Chile. There are other groups who are watching the webcast, and will be talking to us, in particular from the auditorium of the CGT, the Argentine General Confederation of Workers, as well as other Argentine trade union leaders, and very probably others who are listening in Lima, Peru, and also in other parts of the continent. We will announce this as we proceed in the course of this event.
In Mexico as well, there are other groups who are watching, where there are gatherings of different university and trade union leaders, at various universities, and in other meeting halls of the STUNAM itself, who are going to participate in this dialogue, which we have called, "Globalization Equals Fascism"; and we are calling also for a new international economic order along the lines that Lyndon LaRouche has proposed.
We are very happy that Mr. LaRouche is with us. He has just returned from an extremely successful trip, successful for all of humanity, for the establishment of a new international political geometry: He is returning from a trip to Russia, where he was invited by the Academy of Sciences, and also from Italy, where he spoke before a special committee of the Italian Senate, where he discussed the urgency of creating this new world economic order, in the face of the completely insane assault coming from the leadership in the United States, especially the entire crowd grouped around Dick Cheney, George Bush, and the economic hit men that work for these people in different countries around the world.
Among those who will participate in the second part of this dialogue, we will have the representative for Mr. LaRouche for Ibero-America, the economist Dennis Small. And here in the auditorium in Mexico City, we have a number of trade union representatives from the STUNAM, and, of course, members of the LaRouche Youth Movement here in Mexico.
So, Mr. LaRouche, greetings from Mexico City, and we're listening to you with great attention. Please proceed.
Thank you, very much. As was just said, I have just recently returned from Europe, from what turned out to be an important discussion in Moscow, on the occasion of the birthday of a leading economist—his 80th birthday—and this involved also my presentation of interviews on television and elsewhere in other locations there in Moscow, which were of some significance. That was followed by my actually three-day visit in Italy, where I addressed a special Defense Committee of the Senate on some of these issues, and also had a number of discussions of similar relevance.
'The Only Real Chance We Have'
The significance is this: We are in one of the most exciting and dangerous periods of modern history. The present world monetary-financial system will inevitably disappear, soon. The question is, what will replace it? That's the issue. The international monetary system in its present form is hopelessly bankrupt. There's no way it could be simply reformed: It must be, in a sense, replaced. So, what has to be done, essentially, is we have to create a new monetary system, and what I've proposed is this: that if the United States—and this is not impossible—if the United States should extend a proposal to Russia, to China, and to India, to co-sponsor the formation of a new international monetary-financial order, that could be done.
The problem is that most nations, such as those of Western and Central Europe, and other parts of the world, are not able to independently act in this way, to initiate. However, if you get the United States and Russia, which are two of the largest nations of the developed world, formerly developed world, and you combine that with China and India, which are the two Asian nations which represent the largest ration of the world's population, then you have a combination which can provide a protective cover for joint action, together with the nations of South America, for example, and Europe and elsewhere. That's the only real chance we have.
Now, it's not impossible, that the United States could be induced to do that, even under present conditions. At present, we have, of course, Dick Cheney, who is highly vulnerable. And you had a recent development, since my return from Europe, which is the so-called BAE scandal, which involves someone known to some of you, Pinochet, who's now gone, but his relics are there. Pinochet was a part of this scandal, and he, of course, was a fascist. He was sponsored by certain people in the United States, as well as from London, and he became in his last years of life, virtually a British agent, openly. But also, George Shultz in California, who was one of the sponsors in putting the Pinochet dictatorship into power, together with Felix Rohatyn, a banker of fascist proclivities, who was the key banker in this operation. And then, of course, Henry Kissinger functioned in support of that, in terms of his role as Secretary of State.
So, this is the character.
Now, what's happening is this: BAE represents essentially a British imperial institution, which has grabbed more and more power in various parts of the world, and has attempted to gain more and more control over the United States. What has happened now, is that Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who has been a longstanding asset of these circles, has been exposed as part of this operation. We have now, an incalculable crisis worldwide, in progress. This is not a financial crisis, this is not a financial scandal as such. This is not a scandal in any ordinary sense: This is a crisis to see who is going to run the world. Is it going to be a group of nations? Or is it going to be the emerging new British Empire, or the reemergent British Empire, which really never went away? Which takes over from the United States, and establishes its world rule through globalization. And, for example, with BAE, which is an instrument for taking control of the military capabilities of the world, under a British imperial organization, a quasi-private organization, but an imperial organization.
Now, we've had recently in South America, some very interesting and positive developments. We've had, partly on the initiative of what has happened from Argentina, which was crucial in this, we've had a bringing together of the nations of South America, in what is not a consolidated but a very promising option. And it is part of the solution.
Therefore, what we have to do is this: The present world international monetary-financial system is bankrupt. There is no way it could be reformed on its own terms and survive. Any attempt to maintain this system, would mean a complete disintegration into a new dark age, comparable to what Europe experienced during the 14th Century, with the collapse of some of the Lombard banks in Italy at that time. That's what happened.
Therefore, the solution is to establish a new international monetary-financial system. That can be done on the basis of the U.S. Constitution's special provisions. Remember, the U.S. system is not a monetarist system. The U.S. system, constitutionally, is based on a credit system, based on the constitutional authority of the United States government over the utterance and control of its own money. In other parts of the world, countries' financial systems have been controlled largely under the Anglo-Dutch Liberal system, in which this system, through its network of private banks, so-called central banks, actually dictates and controls governments.
So, you had an imperial world monetary-financial system, which has been traditionally centered on the British Empire essentially, ever since February 1763. Against that, the only system which is surviving of any great significance today, as the alternative, is the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the U.S. dollar as a credit mechanism of the U.S. government. That is, under our system, when it's operating—and it has not always operated that way, obviously—under our system, we generate credit through a vote in the Congress, especially the House of Representatives. The President of the United States then acts upon that authority of this Federal law, to utter currency as credit against the United States itself.
Now, the chief function of this credit, is not just to print money. The function of this credit, is to supply capital funds for long-term capital investments, especially in the public sector, but spilling over into the private sector; in the public sector, largely large-scale infrastructure projects, for the states as well as the Federal government. This credit generally extends for a life period of 25 to 50 years, in terms of modern economy.
Therefore, we have a present world monetary-financial system which does not function. However: If the United States affirms its Constitution, and enters into agreement with three other sponsoring major countries, and other countries, then, we can create a new international monetary-financial system immediately, putting the entire existing system into bankruptcy reorganization, to maintain the continuity of essential functions, and to start a program of actual net economic growth, and development. The hard core of this over the long term would be long-term investment in basic economic infrastructure and development of the economies of various parts of the world. A cooperative set of treaty agreements, of 25 to 50 years' duration, to create capital formation, to bring the world up in the way that Roosevelt had intended had he lived at the end of the last war.
A Contest Between Two Systems
So that's what our option is. If we do that, we can get out of the present mess. If we do not make such a reform, there is no hope for civilization: Chaos would be inevitable. There's no part of the world that could withstand the chain-reaction effects of a collapse of the U.S. economy, now. The collapse of the U.S. dollar would mean a collapse of all dollars, and claims against the dollar, in every part of the world. It would bankrupt China, it would bankrupt India, it would bankrupt Europe. So even at the present time, there's no way that the United States could collapse, and the rest of the world escape. Not possible. Therefore, the United States must be reformed, in the way consistent with its own Constitution, by offering cooperation with other countries, especially leading countries, to establish a new world system, a new version of the old Bretton Woods system, which would provide for recovery programs of 25- to 50-years of long-term investment throughout the world as a whole.
For example, you have the case in South America, where we have this Bank of the South, which has now emerged: a very positive development. Such a bank, if it were operating under the protection and assistance of such an international reform, would be capable of generating its own version of long-term credit internally, within South America, for obviously necessary projects. We have a fragile situation in South America, some very good agreements, but a lot of problems. And therefore we must resolve those problems by finding a common positive solution which brings people together about the options for good, that is, for benefits, as opposed to simply fighting each other, quarreling over differences. And this is possible. This is the situation we face now.
On the U.S. situation, the BAE crisis, the scandal involving the British arms industry, or the arms monopoly, this is not—as I said before—this is not simply a monetary crisis or a scandal. This is a contest between two systems: the human race, and the British Empire. What is involved here is an institution of the British monarchy, BAE, which is being used to take over the military affairs of the world, as a monopoly of military power. This is accompanied at the time, that we have coming out of the United States and Britain, a policy which is associated with the name of Dick Cheney, from the time he was formerly the Secretary of Defense and now as Vice President—the virtually acting President of the United States, today—this policy, which is supported by the familiar George Shultz, who is remembered for his backing of Pinochet, is called a "Revolution in Military Affairs." The objective is to establish a world empire of military power. The empire would be based on eliminating the regular ground military forces, that is, national military forces, and replacing these with private armies, which would replace these forces. But at the same time, to control the planet through putting weapons in space which can drop missiles, from space, on any part of the world that the ruling authorities do not approve of. And using naval power in a diminishing role for the same effect.
We're looking at the threat of a world empire, a new British Empire, in fact, and what has happened with this crisis about BAE, is certain forces in Europe, including inside the United Kingdom, and in the United States, are now in a state of revolt against this threat of world empire. It is expressed partly by the resistance from leading military figures in the United States, and elsewhere, against what is going on in Southwest Asia today. It is expressed in other ways, and it is expressed in the BAE scandal.
The blowing of the scandal, the identification of Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia as a key figure in this international swindle, has blown open the whole issue. If Bandar goes down, then the whole system would tend to go down. And there are many people in the United States, and also some in the United Kingdom, as well as in Europe, who would welcome this immediately.
So, we're now at a point, where the old system has collapsed, a rotten system which has been in existence in this form since 1971, since the Summer of 1971. This system has now collapsed: There's no possibility that the present world monetary-financial system can continue to exist in its present form. The date on which it would die is uncertain, but the inevitability of its early death is absolutely certain. Therefore, we have to choose a new system. This is the case for the people in London and elsewhere, who are behind what the BAE scandal represents: Those who are looking for a one-world empire, for globalization. That's a new form of world empire.
We, on the other hand, have an option: If the United States plays the role for which it was intended, at the time it was created as a Federal republic, and allies with nations around the world, to bring together a coalition of nations whose tradition is European, whose tradition in other cases is Eurasian, that is, like Russia—Russia is a Eurasian nation, not a European nation; it has European roots, but it also has Asian roots in its culture. Then you have the great Asian cultures, represented by China, India, and so forth, and other large countries of Asia. The objective on this planet should have been, for a long time, to find a way of bringing these three sectors of the world together in some form of cooperation: the European culture as represented in a sense by what the United States has achieved by freeing itself of oligarchical traditions. Russia is typical of the Eurasian group of nations, that is, who represent both Asian cultures and European cultures; and those Asian cultures, such as China, India, and so forth.
Challenges of the Future
If we can bring these great cultures together, in a program of recovery of the planet as a whole, the following is the case: We now have a project online, which has recently been boosted in Russia, a project which I've been supporting a long time, which is to build a tunnel, a railway tunnel from Siberia to Alaska. Now, what this would do, would lead to a global change in the character of human relations on this planet. It would mean that we would have high-speed rail, or magnetic levitation transport systems, coming from Europe, into not just Alaska, but down through the entire Americas. We have intended this for a long time: to have a complete rail system, connecting the north of North America, to the southern tip of South America. By going through a similar way, through Southwest Asia, and across from Europe into Africa, we now would have a way, in the immediate future—not necessarily in my lifetime, but beyond—in which we can unite the major parts of this planet, together in a new form of economic cooperation, as sovereign nation-states, linked by high-speed rail transport, or magnetic levitation transport. We would then have changed the world from one dominated by sea power, to one dominated by the development on landed areas, or populated landed areas.
This great change now stands before us. We have new technologies, new fundamental technologies, like nuclear fission power, which is needed to deal with the water problems of much of the world, the freshwater problems. I'm for power, in general. We have the new technologies of thermonuclear fusion technologies, which are significant, because they provide new kinds of isotopes which we can manufacture in large degree, for various kinds of needs, as well as a source of power. We have the great projects of transportation and other kinds of great projects, to rebuild the planet as a whole, through a system of cooperation among sovereign nation-states, which are largely linked together by international high-speed rail or magnetic levitation routes, to take every part of the world—including the most remote parts of Africa, and desperate parts of Africa—to bring them together in a common world system, a system of sovereign nation-states.
And that's where we are today. And therefore, on the one hand, I'm optimistic as to what can be done, what must be done. I'm fearful of what will happen to humanity, if we don't do it. What we have in South America in particular, in the attempt to bring some cooperation among the states of the continent of South America, is extremely important, because it sets a model for nations which have completely different kinds of special problems: like the problems of Bolivia, are not the same as those of Brazil, but they're related. The problems of Colombia, the problems of Argentina, these are all different kinds of economies, with apparently conflicting interests. But they have an overriding common interest! And therefore, we have to take nations which have conflicting requirements, and bring them together around the idea of a common purpose, a common goal for mankind. And this Bank of the South operation, which has emerged in South America, is key. The nations of South America do have the right, the implicit right, to set up their own credit system, their own international banking arrangements among sovereign nations, to create large-scale credit, and to regulate their relations with one another, with the idea based on the Westphalian principle: that is, that each nation shall consider the welfare of the other nation, as its paramount concern. And if all nations look at that in this way, we don't have a problem in cooperation, with the Westphalian principle.
So, the time has come where we have the worst crisis in modern history; we have a crisis which goes probably worse than some of the problems of the dark ages of Europe. We're coming to the limit: We have a financial system which can not be saved. There's no way of functioning under the existing monetary-financial system of the world—can't do it! We have a crisis, where the system is threatened with coming down in various ways, the BAE crisis is typical of this. And on the other hand, we have the possibility, on the basis of experience and desires of people of conscience in many nations, to bring nations together around a new monetary system, more or less consistent with the intention of Franklin Roosevelt at the close of World War II, to build a new world monetary system, based on a credit system, rather than a predatory monetary system, or monetarist system.
We have specific projects and technologies, which are either developed or could be developed, which can address most of the problems. We can bring together the entirety of the planet on the basis of the same principle, celebrated in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648: It's time to go back to that.
So, that's my message for the moment.
Moncayo: Thank you very much, Mr. LaRouche. I now introduce Agustín Rodríguez, the Secretary General of the Trade Union of Workers of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and we greet him. He will speak about the problems that globalization has brought to Mexico—particularly, a law was approved in Mexico, privatizing the social security of state-sector workers [ISSSTE], and this law completely violates any concept of dignity that workers have. Agustín Rodríguez as a leader, both of the university trade union, but also as a component group of the UNT trade union confederation, has been carrying out a series of activities to denounce these violations of workers' rights, and the really anti-democratic nature of this fascist-type reform, which is being imposed in Mexico and across the continent today.
Eng. Agustín Rodríguez
Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I've arrived slightly late to this conference and I'd like to apologize for that. But today was an important day for us, because of the demands which we have been making, the protests as the UNT, and more specifically as the STUNAM trade union, protests with regard to this new law which has been imposed recently on state-sector workers, and which totally changes the social and economic context that workers face, especially in terms of what they get for social security here in Mexico. Today, we got a response from the Labor Ministry of Mexico, a response to a document which we gave them eight days ago—we gave it to Javier Lozano, the Labor Minister of Mexico—in which we presented and we documented the violations of the Mexican Constitution which are implicit in the law which was approved on March 30th. And today, they answered us. And we have not yet analyzed it from a legal standpoint, and we're going to continue with our work.
Now, here, it's very important to turn to the subject of globalization. If economic globalization were good for all human beings, we would be seeing general benefits on a global scale. However, there's something about economic globalization, which is that the only thing that has happened as a result of it—and this is the case not only in Mexico, but just about in every country around the world—is it has increased the poverty of the citizens. It has also reduced the income levels of all workers, and that is something which has to be analyzed in upcoming conferences and actions which we will be carrying out. Because it's not just a question of having a policy position opposed to the free market economic system, but rather, we're opposed to a policy which has been producing the impoverishment of millions of Mexicans.
Economic Crisis in Mexico
If we look at our situation here in Mexico, if we look back two Presidential terms ago, 12 years ago, we had 18 million Mexicans who were living in poverty. Today, 50 million Mexicans are poor—and of those 50 million, 20 million live in extreme poverty. At this moment in our country, there are many parts of the country where education is not available in an adequate way. There's no quality education for all the inhabitants of the country, even though there is a constitutional provision, a social provision of tremendous impact, which establishes that the state must provide obligatory and quality education for all Mexicans. But we don't have that! As a result of that economic system which has produced so much economic inequality, we find students who don't even have an adequate place to go to school for a basic education. And that is something which has been happening.
Another area of impact: Public education is not really supported, it is not given the support that it requires from the Federal Executive branch of government. Every year, we have to fight for them not to cut back the budget. This year, in the previous Presidential administration, the previous President, President Fox, achieved the impossible: He managed to get the general budget for education to fall by 0.2% compared to the previous Presidential term. And that gives you an idea of their concept.
Then, if we turn to the issue of food, consumption and food production in the agricultural sector, we have a tremendous deficit, a developmental deficit, as a result of the agreements which were reached through the North American Free Trade Accord (NAFTA). Who are the beneficiaries? It is not we Mexicans who are benefitting. It is the other side of the equation, because they are the ones who have tremendous economic capabilities for subsidizing their products, the products produced in their countryside and their agricultural sector, and they do so with millions of dollars. Here in Mexico, we just have a couple of million pesos for those subsidies. The United States is actually violating that NAFTA agreement, because it's prohibited to subsidize agriculture, yet the United States is doing this in a really cynical fashion. Because, what this does, is that it encourages inequality in the generation of free trade.
So therefore, there are a lot of agricultural products which enter Mexico from abroad. And what we produce here in Mexico just has to be thrown away. Because these products rot, because they are warehoused and no one buys these products, because they're more expensive than what is dumped from abroad. As a result, agricultural production in Mexico is not developing.
So there's no development of the countryside, and of agricultural products, and of food in Mexico. Then we find the other aspect of the economy, which I wanted to mention, which is the feedstocks for animals, which are in turn used for human consumption. Animals that consume transgenic agricultural products, some say this is generating diseases. This has not been proven; but what is a fact, is that we are facing a lot of diseases which we didn't have previously, and these are now developing, especially in countries such as Mexico, because of the consumption of feedstocks which are developed under this agricultural process of transgenic crops.
The Social Toll
Now, let me turn to the social aspect of this, which is the final point I want to mention: Social security in Mexico has functioned under a system, which has a name which says what it is, it's social in nature. Now, what's happening today, is that accounts are being individualized and privatized. We have a situation where medical services are being privatized, and this is a path to the free market economy, to a supply and demand system, for pensions and retirement funds, and for medical services.
We are convinced that the fight being waged by our trade union and others as well, is not a fight which will end today or tomorrow. It's a long-term battle which is not only part of the broader phase of the fight against this new law, the ISSSTE law which has been imposed, but it is part of a fight against what has been identified as "structural reforms" of the entire system. And those structural reforms are what are being pushed in Mexico, to generate an even greater exploitation, along with a greater enrichment of the owners of capital. There is a proposed tax reform which is under way, and there's also a labor reform, which is being discussed.
On this labor reform: There is one article which the business layers really want to change. This is Article 35, which establishes the ways, the mechanisms by which businessmen can hire workers. The issue is the idea of hiring temporary workers, and hiring apprentices. That form of hiring, in the '60s and '70s, led to an enormous exploitation of the workers, such that, in 1971, we managed to reform that article, and we eliminated that form of exploitation, that kind of hiring of workers in Mexico.
Now they want to reopen that same issue. Why? To be able to create so-called "flexibility" in the hiring of workers which will eliminate social security, absolutely and completely—no benefits, collective contracts, or trade unions. Because, with this kind of temporary hiring, for three months, four months, and with such a large supply of unemployed labor, clearly today, they'll hire a worker and in three years, they'll hire the same guy all over again. And that will destroy any kind of social security, and any defense of the interests of workers.
There was a very good debate which we were involved in in the last legislature, and we were able to deal with in the Labor Committee in Congress, and we managed to ensure that that change did not go ahead in the last legislative session. But that's the nodal point, the central point of the legislation, because that would allow them to make any kind of hiring "flexible."
Even worse, the idea of hiring for apprenticeship, which becomes a merit-based system, so that somebody comes and says, "I'm going to come here to work and learn, but I'm not going to be paid; or else, pay me just a little." And this will lead to even further exploitation of workers. We're totally opposed to this.
We have said, and we're quite convinced, that the structural reforms that are being proposed, are being pushed, so that Mexican workers and Mexican society accept this as a condition, supposedly to be able to open up the country and create development. This is a fallacy. This is totally contrary to the interests of development of Mexicans, because it's been shown that where these types of schemes have been applied, there has not been progress, there has not been any development, and there has not been any reduction in the social injustice gap, which the economic neo-liberal system has created. And that's where we want all of these aspects to be rediscussed, reopened.
This is the path of lack of equity, lack of equilibrium, lack of development, lack of fair conditions. I'm convinced that the only way, the only formula to be able to develop the country—and this is not something which I'm inventing, but which has happened in developing-sector countries—is to protect, and always be very careful to maintain and promote, step by step, to protect your internal market. If you protect your internal market, you encourage employment, you take care of health, food, nutrition, education of the population. In this case, our internal market has been completely destroyed. It has been made subject, our entire economy, 70% of it, to foreign interests; it depends completely on what happens in foreign markets.
Now, these matters are not counterposed, because we can develop our foreign markets, because we do have to participate and encourage all the exports imaginable. But, we must defend the internal market, first and foremost. That's what the United States does; that's what France does; that's what they do in many countries around the world. And that's the key to the differences, the disagreements that we have. Those of us who are not in agreement with this oh-so-pragmatic formula of bringing goods in from abroad, imposing these products here in the country—they tell us that this is generosity, charity, goodness. Yeah, sure it is ... but only for the few.
Impoverishment of All But a Few
And so, just a simple exercise: Take a look at our country. Our country is on the verge of having the first trillionaire on a world scale. What does that mean, to have the first trillionaire? It means that we have tremendous poverty! I don't want to compare ourselves, in the scheme of things, to countries in Africa, in terms of starvation, but there are parts of the country where that is happening. We're not far from going into a situation with that kind of impact, if there's no food production in the country, if there's no generation of employment, if there are no dignified salaries, because only owners of capital have decent incomes. So, in the final analysis, what we have here is something that can not be understood except in one way: Yes, there is wealth production—but, only a few benefit from it. And that's why this neo-liberal economic model has to be reviewed, reformed to stop the generation of poverty and impoverishment which is going on.
This is something that we've been working on as a trade union, not just recently. We warned about this in 1985, when the imposition of this neo-liberal economic model began, and where we presented a diagnosis of what would happen if we did not act in time. That was 1985, during the period which was the supposedly Golden Age of the PRI government, which encouraged the imposition of this neo-liberal economic system. And everything which is happening, and which the two most recent governments have followed without question—they're following the exact, same program. And we said back in 1985 in a full-page advertisement: "The destiny of Mexico is being lost, we have to change our course." What is going to happen, when everything that we said there, is now happening in our country?
We diagnosed the situation back then. Unfortunately, in the trade union movement in general in Mexico, we have not yet found enough perception or sensibility, to be able to create a broad front with three or four central objectives, so that as a great trade union mass of people, we can carry it out. I'm completely convinced that the only people who can change the path of Mexico, are we, the organized workers of the country, those who generate the wealth; those who ensure that everything that exists in this country actually moves! And the same holds worldwide. And that's the worker in the countryside, the worker in the factory, the worker at the universities, the worker in the schools, the worker in hospitals, the worker everywhere. We are the ones who can do it.
Unfortunately, in our country, we still have a situation, where there are comfortable postures held by some trade unionists, where, in exchange for three or four little bits of political power which are handed out, people make deals. We have not been able to create a broad movement in the left, where we have three or four currents in the trade union movement, or the cooperative movement, also with three or four groupings. We haven't been able to do what we need.
But it doesn't matter: In the final analysis, the demands of the workers are being felt. We have to get busy, we can not continue to have a situation of passivity, of comfort; because we have a crisis facing us in the short, medium, and long term. And as a trade union, the STUNAM, we are involved in this. We do not tire. This new law which has been imposed, they may have imposed it today and for tomorrow, but we are going to get it abrogated. We fought for this, in the '70s and '80s. We fought to make sure that workers had full labor rights. And with a Congress that was 90% in the hands of the PRI, we managed to transform Article 3, so we were able to modify the Constitution. Now, this is a secondary law, and I do think that we can get it cancelled, abrogated, so that the constitutional rights of workers are respected, rights which are today being violated by this new law.
If there are any comments, I'm available. Thank you very much, and we'll open it up to conversation.